“Родина-тётя” – Андрей Алехин (1/5 ★)

Находясь в Украине и отправляясь в поиски нескольких новых книжек, чтобы привезти их обратно домой во Францию, я оказалась перед данной реальностью – в Киеве почти во всех книжных магазинах теперь продаются только книги на украинском… Хотя я без проблем всё понимаю, если со мной кто-то общается на украинском, то читать книги на нём я…

“A History of Ukraine” – Oleksandr Palii (3/5 ★)

This book is a great starting point for someone who would like to get a better understanding about the country of Ukraine, its history, culture and traditions. Or in my case, it was a good refresher on the history of the country, after countless years have passed since my Ukrainian school education. I read it…

“Das Licht” – T. C. Boyle (2/5 ★)

Es scheint so, als ob mir dieses Buch über den Weg gelaufen ist, um mir eine Lektion zu erteilen… Dass ich endlich aufhören sollte, in Airbnbs hinterlassene Bücher zu lesen, mit der Hoffnung dadurch über einen verborgenen 5/5 ★ Schatz zu stolpern. Es ist das zweite Buch, das ich von T. C. Boyle gelesen habe…

“Strangers” – Taichi Yamada (3/5 ★)

“Strangers” was one of those books that has been left behind by another traveler on the shelf of an Airbnb apartment. Me, always being curious about what kind of reads others bring along on their vacations, decided to take it along for a couple of days at the beach. As it says in the reviews…

“A New Earth” – Eckhart Tolle (4/5 ★)

The review of this book could start off with a game of “never have I ever”… Never have I ever taken along so much valuable knowledge after finishing a book. Never have I ever highlighted as many passages within a book. Never have I ever come across a book that would feel so life-changing. Never…

“Just Like You” – Nick Hornby (2/5 ★)

Having previously read Nick Hornby’s books “A Long Way Down“, “About a Boy” and “High Fidelity”, I didn’t really have high expectations towards “Just Like You”. I have never rated any of the author’s books with more than 3 out of 5 ★ and his newest release can be classified within the same category. This…

“Couchsurfing in Saudi Arabien” – Stephan Orth (4/5 ★)

Jedes Mal wenn die Nachricht erscheint, dass bald ein neues Buch von Stephan Orth veröffentlicht wird, mache ich wortwörtlich einen Freudentanz! Ich habe in der Zwischenzeit vier seiner Bücher gelesen und habe mich in jedes davon Hals über Kopf verliebt!!! Zu “Couchsurfing im Iran“, “Couchsurfing in Russland” und “Couchsurfing in China” kommt jetzt das vierte…

“Eine Formalie in Kiew” – Dmitrij Kapitelman (5/5 ★)

Das neueste Buch von Dmitrij Kapitelman war einfach nur wie Balsam für meine ukrainische Seele. Für diejenigen, die mit dem Land und dessen Traditionen nicht so vertraut sind, kann es zu einer spannenden Entdeckungstour an Leseerfahrung werden. Von den ersten Zeilen an wurde ich von nostalgischen Gefühlen überflutet, als man den Autor auf der Reise…

“The One Thing Worth Doing” – John Pope (3/5 ★)

Having come across John Pope’s novel thanks to the Paris Anglophone Book Club, it was an extremely interesting insight into the finished product of a self-published book. Even though there were little bits & pieces of the narrative that were a bit less appealing to me, in general it was a pleasant read. There was…

“The Midnight Library” – Matt Haig (2/5 ★)

“The Midnight Library” was the first one of Matt Haig’s books that I have picked up after having heard tons about his other publications and this one just having been released in 2020. It has been chosen by one of my book clubs as the read for the month of January 2021 and I decided…

“Syria’s Secret Library” – Mike Thomson (5/5 ★)

Prior to reading “Syria’s Secret Library“, I have just finished “The Book Collectors of Daraya” by Delphine Minoui. Both books were written about the hidden library within the Syrian town of Daraya but my curiosity simply hasn’t been satisfied after Delphine Minoui’s book, which was originally published in French in 2018. Upon doing some additional…

“21 Lessons for the 21st Century” – Yuval Noah Harari (3/5 ★)

This was my third Harari book that I immersed myself in, after having read “Sapiens” in 2016 and “Homo Deus” in 2018. I find myself recommending these books to people because I did find them incredibly valuable and informative (especially Sapiens!) but I still end up only giving ratings of 3/5 ★ to them. It…

“Essentialism” – Greg McKeown (2/5 ★)

The most important take-away from this book for me was – if you’re not feeling completely overworked, chaotic and goal-less with the things you’re currently doing on a daily basis (whether that’s in your personal or your professional life), put this book aside until you feel that way one day and only then reach out…

“Greenlights” – Matthew McConaughey (5/5 ★)

Reading Matthew McConaughey’s memoir is comparable with the experience of sitting down with a good friend and simply having a chat about life. Having a laugh with each other, shedding some tears and sharing some little life lessons. It’s especially ideal as an end of start of the year read, as it manages to round…

“Geschichten mit Marianne” – Xaver Bayer (3/5 ★)

Ich bin auf Xaver Bayer’s neues Buch dank dem österreichischen Buchpreis 2020 aufmerksam geworden und auch wenn es für mich bei einer Bewertung von “nur” 3/5 ★ bleibt, war es dennoch eine sehr unterhaltsame Leseerfahrung! Das Buch ist so kurz, dass man es innerhalb eines Tages auslesen kann und es sich ideal dafür eignet, wenn…

“The Diary of a Bookseller” – Shaun Bythell (3/5 ★)

Having had this book on my virtual “to read” list for a while, I have finally come across it by chance in a book shop in Lisbon the other day. What it ended up being was a light and quick little read, sparkled with a bit of humour here & there, while telling the story…

“The Queen’s Gambit” – Walter Tevis (4/5 ★)

Having decided to read this book before watching the Netflix series, I was more than positively surprised by it! I would even say that it ended up being one of the favourite discoveries of the year for me. My biggest hesitation (as I can imagine it being for a lot of other readers), was the…

“Une simple lettre d’amour” – Yann Moix (1/5 ★)

This has definitely got to be the worst book I have read this year so far… It really reminded me of my worst book of 2019, “Submission” by Michel Houellebecq. The style of the two of them really resembled, the story being told from the point of view of a despicable, misogynist and racist guy….

“Night Boat to Tangier” – Kevin Barry (2/5 ★)

This is one of those books where I actually really feel sorry about giving it a low rating… There were some parts that I found really enjoyable, the language was absolutely beautiful at times, the descriptions were almost tangible, but… It just wasn’t a story for my taste. If it wouldn’t have been for my…

“Lifespan” – David A. Sinclair (3/5 ★)

“Lifespan” was definitely one the most challenging books I have read this year and if it wasn’t for a book club I’ve attended, I would have never come across it! As I noted down 25 pages in, I straight away understood that it would be a bumpy ride. It’s demanding of your entire attention and…

“Future Crimes” – Marc Goodman (4/5 ★)

Did you know that the technology to simply control gadgets (like your Google Glass) with your thoughts already exists? Did you hear about the 2013 story of electronic teakettles and irons manufactured in China that spread a virus to all your electronic devices through WiFi? 😀 Or that we’ll be able to literally “bring back…

“Couchsurfing in China” – Stephan Orth (5/5 ★)

Nachdem ich ein riesiger Fan von Stephan Orth’s beiden anderen Couchsurfing Büchern war (Couchsurfing im Iran und Couchsurfing in Russland), war ich wahnsinnig gespannt über seine neuen Abenteuer in China. Ihr habt wahrscheinlich die Bewertung im Titel schon bemerkt und ich kann mit voller Überzeugung sagen, dass es absolut lesenswert ist! Ich bin immer noch…

“The Fire Next Time” – James Baldwin (5/5 ★)

Diving into my first James Baldwin book, I was simply blown away by how elegant and impactful his writing was. I was glad to have an introduction to his works with “The Fire Next Time” since it’s such a personal account, allowing you to get to know the author better. The way he tackles the…

“Born a Crime” – Trevor Noah (5/5 ★)

This book… Was simply unforgettable… I laughed and I cried while reading it, both thanks to dozens of hilarious moments but also to a tragic one towards the end. This book simply hooks you from the first sentences on (which you can see yourself within the first quote) and I applaud either Trevor Noah’s writing…

“The Honeymoon Effect” – Bruce Lipton (4/5 ★)

This book is a prime example of the category of books “I would never have bought myself”. It has presented itself as a lesson of the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, throwing in an additional one on “Don’t judge a book by its title”. It looks cheesy, it sounds cheesy, which it…

“The Hidden Life of Trees” – Peter Wohlleben (3/5 ★)

What started off as an incredibly interesting book filled with completely new information for me, didn’t quite manage to hold that level until the very end. Nevertheless, I still considered it to be a more or less enjoyable read. I really appreciated the sense of humour of the author throughout the writing & the short…

“Qualityland” – Marc-Uwe Kling (4/5 ★)

This book had quite a unique balance to it. It was light & fun, as well as deep & meaningful, when touching on an analysis of our current world and the future we’re heading towards. I believe that your opinion on “Qualityland” will depend on how you read it & what you decide to take…

“Why We Sleep” – Matthew Walker (5/5 ★)

If I was given the restriction to only read 1 single book this year, then I would without a doubt choose Matthew Walker’s “Why We Sleep”!!! I don’t remember the last time I read a book that was so densely packed with valuable information & on top of that “packaged” in such an approachable way…

“On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” – Ocean Vuong (5/5 ★)

“On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” by Ocean Vuong has instantly become my favourite book of the year out of all the 16 I have read so far in 2020. If you were wondering, that is the author’s actual name, it was changed into Ocean by his mother after she has separated from her husband, who…

“Talking to Strangers” – Malcolm Gladwell (2/5 ★)

I have been tempted to pick up the “Talking to Strangers” book having previously liked Gladwell’s “Outliers“ (read it in 2015 & gave it a 4 out of 5 star rating back then) & also because of its title, which ended up being completely misleading. I was expecting something more psychological or something that would…

“Mr. Gwyn” – Alessandro Baricco (5/5 ★)

I read the German translation of “Mr. Gwyn” by Annette Kopetzki & I’ve got to say that after this first book as an intro to the author, I’m very curious about discovering other novels by Alessandro Baricco! I got through “Mr. Gwyn” in almost just a single day, one reason being that I was stuck…

“Tyll” – Daniel Kehlmann (1/5 ★)

Life is too short to be reading books that you don’t enjoy. If I’d actually be living by that mantra, I wouldn’t have finished this book. My opinion is highly subjective though, since I actually really liked one of Daniel Kehlmann’s previous books, “Ruhm“. Nevertheless, I literally had to force myself to get through “Tyll”,…

“The Testaments” – Margaret Atwood (1/5 ★)

I was incredibly disappointed by the “The Testaments”…It didn’t read like a Margaret Atwood book at all, it felt like it has been reduced to the genre of young adult fiction in order to reach a broader public & it didn’t do the “Handmaid’s Tale” justice as a continuation of the story.Having re-read “The Handmaid’s…

“The Universe in Your Hand” – Christophe Galfard (3/5 ★)

I’ll start off with the mention that this is an amazing book & that I’d suggest each & everyone to read it! (don’t mind the 3 stars!!) It opens up your understanding of our planet, our universe & simply how bizarre our existence is, living on a ball of matter floating through space. I’ll also…

“The Art of Making Memories” – Meik Wiking (4/5 ★)

“The Universe is made up of stories. Not atoms” – Muriel Rukeyser I picked this book up at an airport shop after a birthday trip to Canada, which I would now describe as one of the best trips of my life. Already then I was afraid of the memories fading away or of losing them…

“Machines Like Me” – Ian McEwan (3/5 ★)

This is the first book I have read by Ian McEwan & it has definitely sparked my curiosity to discover more books by the author. I really wanted to like this one, since I’m generally a fan of AI & I have also initially given it 4/5 stars, but while going through the review, it…

“Submission” – Michel Houellebecq (1/5 ★)

This is definitely the worst book I have read this year (and it also comes close to probably being one of the worst books I’ve ever read in my entire life). To start off, I absolutely don’t understand the hype & the buzz around Michel Houellebecq. To me, he comes off as a completely arrogant…

“The White Tiger” – Aravind Adiga (2/5 ★)

From the very beginning of the book, I simply wasn’t a fan of the main character. More than that, 118 pages in, I’ve noted down that I couldn’t care less about what would happen to him. There’s no connection I’ve felt towards him whatsoever & no matter how well the story would’ve been written, it…

“Stoner” – John Williams (4/5 ★)

This book left a really strong impression on me, even though it is once again one of those that I wouldn’t have picked up myself. I stayed awake until 2am finishing the last 100 pages & that’s a sure sign of a well written book for me. One of the most striking things to me…

“Sadness Is a White Bird” – Moriel Rothman-Zecher (5/5 ★)

I couldn’t have been happier to come across “Sadness is a White Bird” by chance, the book having been selected for a book club that I attended. I have devoured it up in no time, staying up late until the middle of the night. The language flows beautifully and I loved the way the narrative…

“The Catcher in the Rye” – J. D. Salinger (3/5 ★)

There was something very Woody Allen-like about the book. So if you enjoy his movies & the way the dialogues flow, you’ll surely like this story. It simply reads like the screenplay of the movie “Wonder Wheel”. Nevertheless, the main character is hardly able to build up relateability & there’s not much happening throughout the…

“The Picture of Dorian Gray” – Oscar Wilde (2/5 ★)

Unfortunately after finishing this book, I simply thought that it’s way too over-hyped. Yes, the idea of the story is an interesting one, the way it’s executed on paper though, leaves a lot to be desired. Another issue I had with the printed edition, was the fact that the ending was completely spoiled within the…

“Cuba” – Alan West-Duran (2/5 ★)

The book starts off in a way you would expect from a university paper or a thesis on the topic of Cuba (not a good one though & which is not. a great. sign). The author dives directly into the deepest details while not giving you enough background on any of the subjects approached: Minute…

“Havana” – Mark Kurlansky (4/5 ★)

I absolutely adored this book & couldn’t have wished to stumble upon a better intro to Cuba before my upcoming trip! The biggest tip I could give, is to read it with Cuban music in the background & you’ll feel directly immersed into the story & the country. What others criticised, I actually enjoyed a…

“Slaughterhouse-Five” – Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (4/5 ★)

Having read this book during a beach vacation, “Slaughterhouse Five” has been a perfectly short, yet impactful read. The writing style is one of a kind, which leaves you perplexed in the beginning & wondering what kind of a book you have stumbled across & whether it’s worth getting through it or not… As the…

“In Cold Blood” – Truman Capote (3/5 ★)

Having had this book suggested by a friend, I had high expectations for it, which unfortunately haven’t been met. My biggest issue with the book was the fact that it only picked up pace & became more or less captivating 150-170 pages into the story. Compared with the total length of the book, being about…

“Who Moved My Cheese?” – Spencer Johnson (1/5 ★)

You can’t even call this a book, a simple story bound in a soft cover.It’s short, it’s foolproof, it’s understandable to each & everybody. Is there any literary effort given to it? Wouldn’t say so.Yes, it’s a brief & fun story to read through in probably less than 2 hours.Might it help you to perceive…

“The End of Eddy” – Édouard Louis (2/5 ★)

I would give “The End of Eddy” at most a rating of 2,5 stars out of 5.The book simply wasn’t long enough to get attached to it or to understand the characters. Somehow the story felt like it was being suffocated, that it didn’t have enough space & enough pages to unfold itself onto. I…

“Killing Commendatore” – Haruki Murakami (3/5 ★)

After having put 2 unenjoyable books behind me, I do have to say that as usual to Murakami’s style, this story simply flowed with ease. When you sit down with the book, you’re softly enveloped into a different world, the storyline unfolding with ease. Nevertheless, I do have to say that “Killing Commendatore” has not…

“S” – J. J. Abrams (1/5 ★)

Even a couple of weeks after having finished this book, I’m still at a loss for words to describe it… And not in a positive sense…I wish I could give it a higher rating, but it’s absolutely impossible, after having struggled through this “thing” for almost 2 months, dragging its weight along everywhere that I…

“Factfullness” – Hans Rosling (4/5 ★)

When I started “Factfulness”, I had quite mixed opinions about it. One of the first things that I noticed, was that you could literally hear the frustration in the author’s voice about people’s perception of the current world. Getting deeper into the book, I did understand the roots of this feeling better though. What I…

“Un Thé à Shanghai” – Jamel Balhi (2/5 ★)

What started out as a promising read, ended up as quite a disappointment… Having shared a BlaBlaCar trip from Zurich to Paris with the author Jamel was how I first found out about his existence & a quick Google search afterwards showed up the couple of books he has written about his trips around the…

“Call Me by Your Name” – André Aciman (2/5 ★)

Having just finished the book & ending it off by watching the movie to it, I’d say that the 2 of them compliment each other. Having read the book just before puts a bit more meaning into the movie. Nevertheless, I can’t say that I have enjoyed the book. Yes, there were some parts which…

“The Art of Thinking Clearly” – Rolf Dobelli (2/5 ★)

Having gone through the book, I strongly agree with some bits in the previous reviews I have skimmed through before starting. While “The Art of Thinking Clearly” succeeds at presenting something of an easier breakdown of “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, it feels highly repetitive (some ideas being too similar & being presented too often), the…

“God Save la France” – Stephen Clarke (1/5 ★)

Picking up “God Save la France” for the 2nd time but in the version of the French translation to practice my language skills has only left me disappointed. I remember rating “A Year in the Merde” as one of my favourite books after finishing it, laughing out loud while going through it & finishing it…

“House of Leaves” – Mark Z. Danielewski (5/5 ★)

Even weeks after I’ve finished this book, I haven’t gotten around to the review, since I couldn’t really manage to phrase what I thought about it. What I can definitely confirm now – after getting the book suggested, I was warned that it would be “an experience” rather than a simple read & I can…

“Homo Deus” – Yuval Noah Harari (3/5 ★)

Finally! After 3 months (which is the longest it has taken me to finish a book in a while!) I’ve finally gotten through this one! It was an incredibly interesting read, but the time that it has taken to finish it, speaks quite a bit about it. I was a bit disappointed by it in…

“Le Livre des Étreintes” – Eduardo Galeano (3/5 ★)

Reading this one in French has definitely been a challenge, so I would suggest you to read it in a language you feel at ease with. I feel a bit conflicted with my general opinion about the book: It has helped me in moments I have been feeling completely & absolutely down. I was literally…

“Underground” – Haruki Murakami (3/5 ★)

Murakami’s “Underground” has definitely nothing to do with the author’s other works of fiction. Nevertheless I mostly reached out for the book because of Murakami – I didn’t end up being completely disappointed but it also wasn’t a groundbreaking book in my opinion, therefore the 3 out of 5 stars rating. What I read out…

“Couchsurfing im Iran” – Stephan Orth (5/5 ★)

Nach dem fertiglesen des “Couchsurfing in Russland” Buches, bin ich von der iranischen Version sogar mehr begeistert! Der Unterschied zwischen den beiden ist, dass in der Iran-Ausführung mehr Zeit genommen wurde, über die Personen und die Interaktionen mit den Leuten zu schildern, anstatt eher nur über das Land im Allgemeinen. Der angenehme & die Spannung…

“Vous descendez? (A Long Way Down)” – Nick Hornby (2/5 ★)

The only reason why I keep on reaching out to Nick Hornby’s books is the fact that I’ve got them standing around in French on my bookshelf. In my opinion, that’s also the only plausible reason to read them – translated in other languages to learn a foreign language, since the style & the vocabulary…

“Read Bottom Up” – Neel Shah, Skye Chatham (2/5 ★)

A super quick read (just about 1 & a half hours) which I have become suspicious about while skimming through a couple of reviews here on goodreads before starting the book. It just seemed to have potential to be in the style of one of those cheesy rom-coms – a typical & predictable boy-meets-girl story….

“A Strangeness in My Mind” – Orhan Pamuk (4/5 ★)

Going through my 2nd Orhan Pamuk book, it once again had the effect of pulling you into a completely different world & making you feel as if you’ve known the characters for years. The way its written is absolutely effortless & the transitions of seeing the story from different people’s perspectives gave it even more…

“The Dark Road” – Ma Jian (3/5 ★)

Ma Jian’s story definitely gives an absolutely different perspective on China’s “one child policy” than what you would expect. The narrative proceeds in a way that feels a bit like a roller-coaster ride, which can be perceived from both a positive & a negative side. It doesn’t manage to captivate your attention completely but nevertheless…

“Paris Revealed” – Stephen Clarke (2/5 ★)

Having read two books by Stephen Clarke about the Parisian adventures of a fictitious character, “Paris Revealed” sounded like a light & fun read, while I didn’t have any expectations towards it at all. Though it did have a few entertaining passages and it is successful at introducing the Parisian way of life, starting from…

“Scenes from Village Life” – Amos Oz (2/5 ★)

Having previously read “My Michael” by Amos Oz & having immensely enjoyed it, I was excited about indulging in “Scenes from Village Life”. Even though a certain atmosphere was established through a particular warmness in the author’s style, it was a generally a disappointing read. This is a typical book which needs to be read…

“The Prisoner of Heaven” – Carlos Ruiz Zafón (4/5 ★)

I’ve heard a lot of praise for the works of Carlos Ruiz Zafón from friends who have read his books. “The Prisoner of Heaven” was picked up by chance at an airport, mostly because I was intrigued by the description on the back. “The secret World of the Cemetery of Forgotten books, hidden in the…

“1Q84” – Haruki Murakami (5/5 ★)

This book leaves you off wanting more. It’s special. Just as so many of Haruki Murakami’s books, this one envelops you in an extraordinary atmosphere, where you feel so close to the characters. It’s a touching, but at the same time an exciting story. Once you start reading it, you simply don’t want to put…